Premier: S’wak govt to continue engaging with Azam, SDI in advancing state’s devt agenda

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Awang Tengah leads the cake cutting ceremony to commemorate the four-decade journey of Azam Sarawak at the event.

KUCHING (Nov 13): The Sarawak government will continue to engage with Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak and its sister organisation Sarawak Development Institute (SDI) as strategic non-profit partners in advancing the state’s development agenda, said Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The Sarawak Premier underscored the vital roles that Azam and SDI play in driving key initiatives such as the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 and the New Economy.

“As you all know, Sarawak aspires to be a developed and high-income state by 2030 which entails doubling the size of Sarawak’s economy from RM136 billion in 2019 to RM282 billion in 2030, with a targeted annual growth of between six to eight per cent as outlined in the PCDS 2030.

“Recently, Sarawak has been categories as a high-income state by the World Bank. This is among the indicators that Sarawak is on the right track, and we should leverage current development to propel us even further towards attaining our other development goals,” he said.

Abang Johari said this in his text of speech read by Deputy Premier Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hasan at the Azam 40th Anniversary Dinner held at Imperial Hotel here last night.

Abang Johari lauded Azam, a non-governmental organisation fuelled by local volunteers for its integral mission in supporting and complementing the government’s efforts in participatory development through communication.

He highlighted Azam’s contribution to facilitating development awareness and buy-in programmes, particularly in rural communities.

Recognising the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and existing logistical constraints, Abang Johari emphasised the importance of effective communication.

To overcome challenges such as geographical constraints, cultural diversity, and internet connectivity issues, Abang Johari said there is a need for robust communication strategies to disseminate development information and engaging communities.

“As we are going for more digitalisation, there are also areas where internet connectivity is another problem that we are facing. I see there is also a need for Sarawak to increase skill development content creators and skill development communicators or spokespersons.

“As such, in moving forward, there is a need to synergise the efforts and resources of local communication players to contribute towards a better informed, better engaged and inclusive Sarawak society,” he added.

“Sarawak is fortunate today to have its own TV station, TVS, and the state Public Communications Unit or Ukas, to help fill some of the existing communication and information gaps. I hope Azam will have more collaboration with Ukas and TVS,” he said.

In this regard, Abang Johari expressed gratitude to Azam and other communication partners for their efforts in helping to communicate change and development to the people over the years.

“Sarawak is well on its way to attaining greater development achievements. To sustain the state’s positive momentum, effective communication, education and engagement with our development stakeholders remain prerequisites to attaining both our short- and long-term goals,” he added.

At the event, Awang Tengah also launched Azam’s new vision and mission statements which signifies its commitment to shaping Sarawak’s future as a model for empowerment, sustainability, and prosperity.

He also presented several awards to Azam’s past founding chairmen and pioneer members as well as other members from its Azam Toastmasters Club and Azam Young Souls in acknowledgement of their years of service.

Also present were Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department (Corporate Affairs, Information and Ukas) Datuk Abdullah Saidol, former state secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, Azam founding chairman Tan Sri Dato Sri Safri Awang Zaidell, State Financial Secretary Dato Sri Dr Wan Lizozman Wan Omar and Azam Sarawak chairman Datu William Patrick Nyigor.